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Toxicological evaluation of nail polish waste discarded in the environment


Nail polish has been widely used around the world. However, the hazards of nail polishes discarded in the environment are still poorly investigated. Thus, the toxicogenetic effects of solubilized (SE) and leached (LE) extracts from nail polishes were investigated, simulating their disposal on water and landfill, respectively, and identifying their physicochemical properties and chemical constituents. Organic compounds and metals were detected in both extracts. SE and LE only induced mutagenic effects in TA98 Salmonella strain in the presence and absence of exogenous metabolic activation. Although both extracts did not significantly increase the frequency of micronucleated HepG2 cells, the cell viability was affected by 24-h exposure. No DNA damage was observed in gonad fish cells (RTG-2) exposed to both extracts; however, the highest SE and LE concentrations induced significant lethal and sublethal effects on zebrafish early-life stages during 96-h exposure. Based on our findings, it can be concluded that if nail polishes enter aquatic systems, it may cause negative impacts to the environment.

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The authors are also grateful to the Multi-User Confocal Microscopy Center of Federal University of Paraná (UFPR), for the use of the equipment acquired with resources from Pro-Equipment (CAPES) and Pro-Infra (FINEP).


The authors thank the Foundation for Research Support of the State of Goias (FAPEG), Foundation for Research Support of the State of Rio de Janeiro (FAPERJ), and the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) for the financial support.

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Correspondence to Elisa Raquel Anastacio Ferraz.

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Responsible editor: Philippe Garrigues

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Felzenszwalb, I., Fernandes, A.d., Brito, L.B. et al. Toxicological evaluation of nail polish waste discarded in the environment. Environ Sci Pollut Res 26, 27590–27603 (2019).

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  • Nail polishes waste
  • Environment
  • Cytotoxicity
  • Genotoxicity
  • Mutagenicity
  • Ecotoxicity
  • Embryotoxicity
  • Leached extract
  • Solubilized extract